5 Dec 2014

Controversy over sale of famous artwork by Wellington Gallery

From Nine To Noon, 9:08 am on 5 December 2014

City Gallery in Wellington has sold at Christies Auction house in London a famous painting of dancer Anna Pavlova. The painting was bequeathed to it by a renowned New Zealand ballet dancer, who wanted it to remain in New Zealand. The painting, Anna Pavlova as the Swan by Sir John Lavery, sold at Christies Auction House in London in June, for $320 000 NZD, almost double its estimate. It was bequeathed to the City Gallery in Wellington by Alexander Grant after his death in 2011. The Wellington born dancer was considered the British Royal Ballet's most remarkable actor-dancer in its golden period of the 1940s to the 1960s. Alexander Grant's family says he wanted the work displayed in New Zealand and they are very unhappy that it has been sold overseas. Margaret Chalk is Alexander Grant's cousin, and Elizabeth Caldwell is the director of City Gallery Wellington.